Alcedis Gmbh, a clinical research organisation at the Giessen Technology and Innovation Centre, is currently participating in three clinical studies. The aim is to find new approaches to prevent and treat the COVID-19 infection.
The current global threat posed by the rapid spread of the corona virus puts scientists, physicians and companies under enormous pressure. The healthcare sector is working urgently to develop effective approaches for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. In fact, finding new solutions as quickly as possible is essential to prevent the catastrophic consequences of the disease. Only a close cooperation among the different stakeholders in the medical field can guarantee the 360-degree approach needed to take into account all sides of the infection. The Giessen-based research institute Alcedis GmbH is a major player in this fight against COVID-19 as the company is supporting several biotech partners in Germany.
From the development of a vaccine to plasma therapy: testing new options in the fight against the coronavirus
Thanks to its digital expertise, Alcedis will participate in a pivotal study on a potential coronavirus vaccine starting from July 2020. Test data from many laboratories all around the world will then be further developed at Alcedis.
At the same time, Alcedis will conduct clinical study to assess the eventual benefits of plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients in Germany. This study, which was started last spring, investigates the therapeutic effects of the so-called convalescent plasma: plasma from patients who recovered from COVID-19 disease and have therefore built up an immune response. This plasma contains antibodies against the coronavirus and could therefore support the immune system of patients with severe COVID-19 disease in the fight against the infection. This study is the first research project of its kind that has been approved by the federal authority PEI (Paul Ehrlich Institute).
In a third European study, Alcedis is working with an industry partner to investigate the effects of blood coagulation and anticoagulant drugs on the course of COVID-19 disease. This study is based on previous research data from China and other countries, which indicate that the incidence of pulmonary embolism in COVID-19 patients is directly related to severe disease progression, complications and increased mortality rates.
From cancer medicine to the fight against corona infection
Alcedis has more than 25 years experience in the medical research field, especially in cancer medicine. “This is an area of research that is under strong pressure in the current situation, since cancer patients usually belong to the high-risk group,” says Hanno Härtlein, Managing Director of Alcedis. “It’s difficult to predict how a corona infection or the postponement of control visits – as a result of the lockdown – could change cancer therapy and thus the research data. In addition, new forms of treatment, like personalized cancer therapy, often involve the body’s own immune system,” he continues. “The aim of immuno oncology, for example, is to stimulate the body’s own immune system by using so-called checkpoint inhibitors to fight the cancer cells. An additional, severe viral infection is an extreme burden for the immune system,” adds Härtlein. “As a company, we’re very grateful to be able to make our contribution to these important COVID-19 research projects. This also fills our employees with pride. In addition, these projects suit us very well; we can prove ourselves as flexible experts in clinical research and also use our know-how in the field of digitalization and technologies for clinical studies.”